Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto by Matt Kibbe is a thinking man’s book, which is probably why the people that would benefit most from reading it probably won’t. If you are sucking the government teat and leeching your existence off others then you are not reading it. Those of us that are paying for those leeches however, will read this and will be confirmed in our anger at the sloth of some of our fellow citizens and the government and government programs that enable that sloth.
I guess I am not a pure enough libertarian because I don’t think we should do away with government, I just think we should drastically shrink it and take away much of its power. That is essentially the point made in this book with an extra dose of traditional libertarian isolationism and veiled “sovereign citizen talk.” I don’t think this is a bad book and it is well written, I just don’t agree with it 100%, more like 50%.
At 227 pages plus notes the book is not exceedingly long. It is separated into 9 thematic chapters. The book opens strong and goes downhill from there. The first chapter lays out 6 rules and the actually make quite a bit of sense. Good luck getting people to follow those rules in their private lives much less in public discourse or when seduced by the exercise of government power. The rules are:
- Don’t hurt people
- Don’t take people’s stuff
- Take responsibility
- Work for it
- Mind your own business
- Fight the power
Those rules are common sense and if everybody followed them we would live in a much more polite and less crime ridden society. There are actually quite a few people who adhere to these rules in their daily lives. Unfortunately, they are outweighed by the army of people on government entitlement and the elected officials and government bureaucrats.
I don’t dismiss the ideas within the book out of hand I just think that aiming for all of these at once is unrealistic. I also think that if the average America is to change it will be a generational project. America could use more libertarianism and the first 5 points make sense as guides for life. Point 6 is so vague as to be useless, it also harks back to 60’s hippie talk to me. Good luck getting the folks on welfare and other entitlements to latch onto points 2, 3, and 4 as their whole existence depends on violating the spirits of those rules.
If you are a pure libertarian then you will like this book because it confirms that pure libertarianism is the way to go. If you are a libertarian leaning conservative like myself then the book has something to offer and may even convince you that you are not libertarian enough. GOP conservatives will probably think the book is a prescription for anarchy and dismiss it as unrealistic. If you are a liberal/progressive you will probably only get offended and think the book offers you some insight and ammunition in your attempt to discredit libertarians in general.
While I do not agree with everything in the book, I still think it is worth reading. Mr. Kibbe brings up some very salient points and provides some serious food for thought.